Daryl Morey

Sixers’ Morey: Simmons Trade Could Take A While

Appearing today on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey made it clear he’s in no rush to trade Ben Simmons for less than what the Sixers believe he’s worth.

People should buckle in, this is going to go a long time,” Morey said, according to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com (Twitter link).

Morey added that if the Sixers can trade Simmons for a “difference-maker,” they’ll do it, but confirmed the club has no interest in moving the three-time All-Star for role players. In Morey’s view, Philadelphia’s best chance to win a championship would be by either getting Simmons back on the court or waiting until an impact player hits the trade block.

I would ask the question to Sixers fans: would you rather eliminate a distraction or have lower playoff odds?” Morey said, per Neubeck and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter links). “I’m willing to go through mud, muck, barbed wire…we’ll go through whatever it takes…what we’re doing right now gives us the best chance to win the title.”

The standoff between Simmons and the Sixers has seemingly grown more uncomfortable this week. The 25-year-old reported to the team, but has resisted engaging physically or mentally in practices and was suspended for the season opener for conduct detrimental to the team. Reports today indicated that he will meet with team leadership on Friday to discuss his playing status after skipping a scheduled individual workout on Thursday.

While Simmons seems to have little interest in suiting up again for the 76ers after demanding a trade in the offseason, Morey’s comments on 97.5 The Fanatic today suggest the club won’t be pressured into making a deal sooner rather than later.

You’re going to think I’m kidding, I’m not. This could take four years,” Morey said (Twitter link via Neubeck). “… We’re in the prime of Joel (Embiid)’s career…this is not a day-to-day (issue). Every day, we are going to expect Ben Simmons to be back here, or we trade him for a difference-maker.”

Multiple reports today indicated that Simmons complained of back stiffness and received minor treatment before being cleared by the team’s medical staff. That back tightness hadn’t been treated or mentioned as an issue before today, a source tells Neubeck.

If he has a legitimate injury, that would be a reason for Simmons to miss practices and games while still being paid. However, it sounds like the team doesn’t view Simmons’ back tightness as a serious issue. Multiple sources who spoke to PhillyVoice about Simmons’ suspension earlier this week were prepared for him to use a health-related explanation to avoid playing in Friday’s game, Neubeck says.

Ben Simmons Takes Physical, Meets With Sixers’ Brass

After returning to Philadelphia on Monday, Sixers star Ben Simmons took his required physical and met with the team’s brass on Tuesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That meeting included president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who says sources described it only as “brief.”

Both Pompey and Shelburne indicate that Simmons won’t be cleared to participate in any team-related activities until at least Friday, due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. As Brian Windhorst observed during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link) on Wednesday, that timeline suggests Simmons may not yet be fully vaccinated, since the league requires fully vaccinated players to register just one negative PCR test in order to interact with other players. Players who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated require at least four negative tests upon reporting to the team, according to ESPN.

We don’t know yet whether Simmons actually intends to return to the court and play for the 76ers following his holdout, but for what it’s worth, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says the 25-year-old’s physical showed no signs that he isn’t healthy. Simmons will be able to begin conducting individual workouts with the assistance of Sixers coaches on Wednesday, Fischer notes.

As we wait to see what the next steps are for the Sixers and Simmons, there’s no indication that the team is anywhere close to making a trade. Both Fischer and Sam Amick of The Athletic have heard that Philadelphia continues to hold out hope that a star like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will become dissatisfied with his situation and ask for a trade, but that remains a long shot unless the Trail Blazers or Wizards get off to a really disastrous start this season.

According to Amick, Simmons’ camp hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a trade to the Nets, but sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic that the Sixers have exhibited zero interest in pursuing a deal involving Kyrie Irving.

Fischer names the Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Kings, Spurs, and Raptors as the nine teams that have remained at least somewhat engaged with Philadelphia, and adds that a “mystery” 10th club has also had “substantive” discussions with the Sixers as of late. Not even Klutch Sports is certain of the identity of that 10th team, per Fischer, who cautions that the mystery suitor still hasn’t come close to meeting Morey’s asking price.

Here’s more on Simmons:

  • Sources tell Fischer that the Sixers have informed potential trade partners whose offers would be heavy on draft picks that their best bet would be a three-team structure in which Philadelphia lands at least one impact player, since Morey and his front office are interested in win-now pieces rather than future assets.
  • Although the Timberwolves still have interest in Simmons following their front office shake-up, new head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta isn’t believed to be pursuing the three-time All-Star as aggressively as Gersson Rosas did, according to Fischer.
  • The Kings remain unwilling to discuss either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential Simmons deal, while the Sixers appear unmoved by the idea of acquiring Dejounte Murray and/or Lonnie Walker from the Spurs, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer adds that there’s a belief the Pistons would entertain trading Jerami Grant in a deal for Simmons.
  • Improving the relationship between Simmons and head coach Doc Rivers is believed to be a priority for the Sixers if Simmons is going to stick around for a little while, according to Fischer, who says the two men never seemed to build a strong rapport last season. Sources tell Bleacher Report that during an offseason meeting at agent Rich Paul‘s home, when the Sixers confirmed they intended to fine Simmons for not complying with the terms of his deal, Rivers shouted, “It’s in your f–king contract” to report to training camp and play for the team.

Ben Simmons Unmoved By Sixers’ Media Day Comments

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and star center Joel Embiid were among the prominent figures within the organization who spoke on Monday at the team’s Media Day about the Ben Simmons situation, expressing a hope that the three-time All-Star would end his holdout and report to Philadelphia.

However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the team’s messages “fell flat” from the perspective of Simmons and his camp, and – if anything – only added to the 25-year-old’s agitation. Amick suggests that Morey’s claim about there being “a lot of hope” for reconciliation was seen as particularly laughable.

“It’s total bulls–t,” one source with knowledge of Simmons’ thinking said of Morey’s comments, per Amick.

Asked on Monday why Simmons wanted out, head coach Doc Rivers was evasive, suggesting that Philadelphia is a tough place to play, then admitting that Simmons hadn’t specifically given that reason. According to Amick, those comments from Rivers – which shifted the blame away from the team and placed it on Simmons’ relationship with the fans – didn’t help matters either.

Here’s more from Amick on the Simmons situation:

  • Although there’s no animosity between the two stars at a personal level, people with knowledge of the situation believe Simmons has decided he’s done playing with Embiid, says Amick. Sources tell The Athletic that Simmons believes the club’s choice to build its system around Embiid’s style of play isn’t conducive to the way Simmons needs to play. “It has run its course,” an Amick source said of the pairing of the two All-Stars.
  • Simmons and his camp had hoped to avoid this kind of training camp circus when they went to Sixers management and directly requested a trade earlier in the offseason, according to Amick, who suggests the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up thought he would’ve been moved by now.
  • Simmons was so convinced back in January that he’d be traded to the Rockets in a deal for James Harden that he actually started researching Houston real estate, reports Amick. When Harden was sent to Brooklyn, Simmons didn’t publicly gripe about sticking with the Sixers, but it certainly seems possible that the relationship between the two sides had begun fraying as a result of those public negotiations.

Latest On Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons doesn’t appear inclined to do the Sixers any favors when it comes to trying to boost his trade value and helping them find a deal. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer suggested during a recent appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic Philadelphia that Simmons and his camp weren’t fans of comments made – and actions taken – by head coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey over the course of the year.

Rivers said at the end of the season that he wasn’t sure Simmons could be the point guard for a championship team, while Morey claimed last winter that the Sixers weren’t moving the three-time All-Star, despite the fact that the team was discussing him in James Harden trade negotiations.

“(Simmons’ camp is) saying to themselves, ‘Why should we help the 76ers out?’ when they feel like, when Doc Rivers said what he said, no one apologized,” Pompey said during his radio appearance. “Doc Rivers wasn’t reprimanded by the team or this and that. Or there’s an organization where, in the preseason last year, when they were saying they weren’t trying to trade him, but everyone knew they were trying to trade him.”

Within an in-depth look at the Simmons situation, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks say that when the Sixers’ brain trust – including owner Josh Harris – met Simmons and his representatives in Los Angeles last month, the team planned to tell the 25-year-old it couldn’t find a deal for him and hoped to move forward with him.

However, Simmons was steadfast in asking to be traded and made it clear he doesn’t intend to come to training camp if he’s still on the roster by the end of September. According to Bontemps and Marks, while the 76ers may be hoping Simmons can boost his trade value by getting off to a strong start during the regular season, “the point was made” during that L.A. meeting that increasing his value isn’t Simmons’ responsibility.

Here’s more on the Simmons situation:

  • If Simmons doesn’t report to camp, the Sixers would have the option of suspending him and fining him 1/145th of his salary per day, according to Bontemps and Marks. Alternatively, the team could fine him $2,500 for his first missed practice, $5,000 for his second missed practice, and $7,500 for his third, plus “reasonable” fines for any missed practices after that.
  • If the Sixers decide they don’t want to burn any bridges and choose not to suspend or fine Simmons for failing to show up to camp, Bontemps and Marks expect the NBA to step in. As the ESPN duo observes, the league won’t want to set a precedent that a player can decide not to report to camp without being penalized.
  • While he concedes that anything is possible, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an appearance on The Jump (video link) that he highly doubts Simmons and the Sixers will be able to repair their relationship.
  • Noting that the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have been frequently mentioned as two of the teams that remain in the hunt for Simmons, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice considers what hypothetical Simmons trades with those clubs might look like.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Kings, Rondo, Lakers’ Big Men

The Kings still need to re-balance their roster, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, and the Sixers still need to find a graceful exit from the debacle they find themselves in with Ben Simmons.

While it’s unlikely the Kings have what Sixers president Daryl Morey might consider the Godfather offer he’s been waiting for, Ham writes that Sacramento has been all in on Simmons since he became potentially available, and the three-time All-Star could represent the franchise-changing move GM Monte McNair has been looking for.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a similar vein, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes that sports betting site MyBookie.ag recently gave the Kings the best odds at landing Simmons of any team (+275). Anderson doesn’t believes that the Kings are fully “all-in” on Simmons though, adding that Sacramento is unlikely to include either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential trade.
  • Rajon Rondo isn’t worried about the Lakers’ age as a team, writes Royce Young of ESPN. In fact, he considers it an advantage. “Wisdom is definitely key to winning a championship,” Rondo said after officially rejoining the club. “We have a lot of that, obviously, with the age and experience on the court. I’m most excited about not being the oldest guy on the team anymore.” Rondo adds that it’s tough to last to the age many of the Lakers’ players have without discipline, which will be key for the team in its title hunt.
  • While not naming DeAndre Jordan specifically, Marc Stein confirms that – according to his league sources – the Lakers have been exploring the center market, despite Marc Gasol having one more year on his deal.

Wolves Notes: Simmons, McDaniels, Coaching Hire, Offseason

The Timberwolves sitting idly by as three power forwards to whom they’d previously been linked switched teams, all while the club has a conspicuous question mark at the four spot, could be a byproduct of their continued pursuit of disgruntled Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, writes The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski.

The Wolves’ interest in the 25-year-old is one of the league’s worst-kept secrets, and Krawczynski writes that even though it’s possible the Wolves don’t have the assets required to land Simmons, the chance at landing him, however small, could potentially have outweighed the appeal of making a more marginal upgrade.

Krawczynski adds that he’s told by those around the league that if there’s any decision-maker who would ignore the optics and noise and keep pushing until he gets the deal he wants, it’s Daryl Morey. That said, the sense Krawczynski gets is that, given the improbability of Damian Lillard demanding a trade before the season, teams are content to wait and let the Sixers situation get worse, knowing eventually Morey will have to make a decision.

We have more news from the Wolves:

  • There are still questions as to whether rookie standout Jaden McDaniels is better suited to playing small forward or power forward, Krawczynski writes in the same piece. McDaniels’ defense was a major high point for the Wolves last season, but at 6’9″ and 185 pounds, he gives up a lot of size and doesn’t solve the team’s rebounding issues. Part of his role going forward will be determined by whether the team takes an offense-first or defense-first approach to the starting lineup, Krawczynski says.
  • The Wolves issued a press release today announcing some new hires. Among the names: Assistant Coach Elston Turner. According to Darren Wolfson of SKOR North, Turner had previously interviewed for the team’s head coach job and comes with a reputation as a defensive-minded coach.
  • The Timberwolves didn’t get better this summer, writes Zach Harper in his Offseason Review for The Athletic, which is why he gives them a D+ grade for their moves, or lack thereof. Harper adds that their avenues to success involve monster defensive performances from their role players (McDaniels, Patrick Beverley, RFA Jarred Vanderbilt) and the hope that the team’s record of 13-11 with D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns playing together is the real deal.

Sixers Notes: Floor/Ceiling, Reed, Milton, Personnel Changes

In a mailbag for The Philly Voice, Kyle Neubeck examines the potential floor and ceiling of the Sixers, assuming they take their current roster into the regular season.

As Neubeck outlines, a worst-case scenario would see a disgruntled Ben Simmons refusing to rejoin the team and president Daryl Morey sticking to his very high trade demands for the point guard, causing the Sixers to fall way behind during a difficult start to the season and not being able to recover, especially if Joel Embiid happens to miss any time due to injury.

What Neubeck refers to as the “pie in the sky” scenario is that – with last year’s playoff humiliation behind him – things click into place for Simmons, who comes back renewed and recommitted, and the Sixers continue their hunt for a championship. A more realistic ceiling, Neubeck writes, is that the team plays together for one more year, as Simmons returns to form, Tyrese Maxey takes a mini-leap and Embiid stays relatively healthy, all of which should combine to give the 76ers a decent chance against the other top teams in the East.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Neubeck also examines the question of what G League and Summer League standout Paul Reed needs to add to his game to become a consistent rotation player. The two keys are the outside shot and converting his impressive shot-blocking numbers into genuine back-line organizational ability. There’s a difference between blocking shots and being the backbone of a team’s defense, Neubeck writes, but Reed showed improved decision-making under the Summer League coaches, and should be able to progress in that department in time.
  • As for guard Shake Milton and his role with the team moving forward, Neubeck writes that being the only consistent offensive force off the bench probably over-burdened the 24-year-old guard, but Maxey’s emergence as a point guard could help simplify Milton’s role as more of a pure scorer. Given that Milton is on a cheap contract and has proven capable of swinging a crucial playoff game single-handedly, Neubeck writes that there’s no reason to think he isn’t a part of the team’s plans.
  • In a surprise move, the Sixers dismissed several scouting and development staff members, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer. Scouts Rod Baker and Jordan Cohn were let go, as was Delaware Blue Coats GM Matt Lilly, among others. Pompey writes in a separate tweet that around 17 staff members were let go in the cost-cutting move. Senior Director of Equipment Operations Scott Rego, who had been with the team for 34 years, was among the firings.

Latest On Ben Simmons

The “overwhelming sense” among NBA insiders is that Ben Simmons will likely still be with the Sixers when training camp opens on September 28, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

As Fischer explains, if Damian Lillard becomes available, the likelihood of a Simmons deal would increase significantly, since the Trail Blazers star appears to be Philadelphia’s preferred trade target. However, there’s a belief in league circles that Lillard will open the season in Portland and give new head coach Chauncey Billups a shot, according to Fischer.

Given the ugly way the 2020/21 season ended in Philadelphia, having Simmons report to training camp could create an uncomfortable dynamic. Fischer suggests that Simmons hasn’t personally been in close contact with Joel Embiid, head coach Doc Rivers, or president of basketball operations Daryl Morey this offseason and may welcome a trade — his representatives have canvassed front offices around the NBA this summer about a potential deal, Fischer adds.

However, with trade talk quieting down and teams more focused on filling out their final roster spots than making any blockbuster moves, a deal may not materialize in the next six weeks or so, and the 76ers appear ready for that possibility, Fischer says.

“Daryl is not afraid to go into training camp with a potentially combustible situation,” a source told Bleacher Report.

Here’s more on Simmons:

  • The Timberwolves remain very interested in Simmons, but it will be a challenge for Minnesota to put together a package strong enough to entice the Sixers, according to Fischer, who notes that if Philadelphia makes a non-Lillard deal involving Simmons, the team may try to get pieces that could eventually be flipped to the Trail Blazers for the star guard.
  • Sources from the Trail Blazers and Warriors “categorically denied” rumors that any traction was gained in talks about a potential three-team trade involving the 76ers, reports Fischer.
  • There’s a faction of the Spurs‘ front office rumored to have strong interest in Simmons, according to Fischer, who says San Antonio was willing to discuss Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker prior to the draft.

Southwest Notes: Draft Day Trades, W. Green, Morey, Spurs

Before a Tuesday report indicated that the Rockets are trying to trade up for the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Kelly Iko of The Athletic, along with beat writers for other teams, took a look at some potential deals Houston could make with the No. 2 pick. Some were considered hard passes (such as a trade-down with the Kings), others were considered interesting but not good enough (including a trade with the Magic for Nos. 5 and 8, and Wendell Carter Jr.), and only a couple were deemed acceptable. The bottom line: there are deals to be made, but it won’t be easy.

Meanwhile, William Guillory of The Athletic examined four potential trades for the Pelicans with the 10th pick, with beat writers from the Kings, Magic, Cavaliers, and Wolves chiming in on the likelihood of each respective deal’s appeal.

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times-Picayune profiles Willie Green, who is expected to be named the next Pelicans head coach. One of the primary appeals of Green, Kushner writes, as opposed to Stan Van Gundy or Alvin Gentry, is his focus on player relationships and establishing trust, rather than instilling a rigidity and system. “The best coaches aren’t necessarily the ones that talk about Xs and Os,” Green said in an interview last year. “It’s doing everything from a place of love. People feel that.”
  • When the Rockets were sold to Tilman Fertitta, part of the agreement included guaranteed five-year extensions for GM Daryl Morey, CEO Tad Brown, and others, which had to be paid out even if those execs joined other teams before the deals expired, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. This could have helped incentivize higher-ups to step down and pursue new opportunities, Feigen notes. This report comes on the heels of Brown being named CEO of the Sixers and New Jersey Devils.
  • As two teams that have eschewed all-out tanking in order to find other ways to rebuild, the Spurs could look to Suns GM James Jones for inspiration, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. Jones was not without his fair share of criticism for his moves in 2019 to maintain competitiveness while retooling around star Devin Booker, Finger writes. But by following his own compass – including the surprise selection of playoff breakout Cameron Johnson with the 11th pick after trading down from No. 6 – and taking advantage of the opportunity to trade for Chris Paul, Jones has found his own way to bring the Suns to greatness. Whether the Spurs can do the same remains to be seen.

Daryl Morey Offers No Hints On Ben Simmons’ Future

Sixers president Daryl Morey met with reporters today for the first time since his team was bounced from the playoffs Sunday night and it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to Ben Simmons, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Morey was asked several times during the virtual press conference if he expects the former No. 1 pick to be on the roster next season. He didn’t make a definite commitment on Simmons’ future and said, “I think it’s pretty straightforward what certain players need to improve.”

That statement echoes comments Simmons made Sunday night about his poor free throw shooting and lack of offense in general. He shot 34.7% from the foul line in the playoffs and scored a combined 19 points in the final three games of the conference semifinals.

Coach Doc Rivers has said the team plans intensive offseason shooting work for Simmons, who disappeared offensively in the fourth quarter throughout the Atlanta series.

Morey didn’t tip his hand on his plans for Simmons.

“We have a very strong group we believe in,” he said. “None of us can predict the future of what’s going to happen in any, in any place. We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel (Embiid) brings, we love what Tobias (Harris) brings, in terms of what’s next we’re gonna do what’s best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster.”

Morey attributed the second-round loss to issues with the offense and said the team needs to become more efficient on that end of the floor. He said he’s still processing the unexpected defeat and admits the Sixers are a long way from where he wants them to be.

“I think if you replay that Game 7 a bunch of times and, you know, we execute better, then we win,” Morey said. “But look, reality is reality. We didn’t do it and, and frankly if we’re squeaking by the second round that just tells me we’re not, we’re unfortunately not good enough, probably to win the title so we need to get better. But, you know, the game, that series, is still incredibly painful.”

He singled out the effort by Embiid, who played the entire semifinal series with a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Even though he admitted being limited by the injury, Embiid averaged 30.4 points and 12.7 rebounds in the seven games.

Morey added that Embiid will receive a full medical review from the team’s doctors before any decision is made about offseason surgery.

Morey also addressed the negative stories that have been written about the team since Sunday’s loss, contending the dire public perception of the organization isn’t deserved.

“People (are) saying the Sixers are in a bad situation,” he said. “I don’t choose to come here, (Rivers) doesn’t choose to come here if this is a bad situation. I mean, really 25 or 26 teams in this league would love to be in our situation with an MVP-caliber top player and All-Star, near All-Star, great young players who are signed for the long term, good veterans. So, we’ve got a good foundation. We just have to do better, I have to do better, everyone has to do better.”